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Hamilton back to his best as Glens blow Celtic away

A superb Gary Hamilton spooked Donegal Celtic on Hallowe’en weekend as he gave a championship dressing down to those who doubt Glentoran’s title credentials.

Sparkling Hamilton haunted the Hoops with a performance full of tricks — and treats for his admirers.

Forget the ‘who is better’ debate involving Portadown’s Kevin Braniff and Glentoran’s Stephen Carson — Hamilton is still the Irish League’s finest talent.

It was against Donegal Celtic on August 20 that Hamilton ended his contractual stand-off with his club.

The Glens fell to a shock 2-1 defeat that day but Hamilton — a substitute then — scored and almost turned the game on its head. Now, he’s turning games and heads.

Setting up goals for Carson (pictured) and substitute Andy Waterworth, Hamilton was in the thick of all that was good about Glentoran in a tough game in difficult conditions.

Ciaran Martyn and Darren Boyce scored the others for the visitors at Celtic Park.

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Boss Scott Young, who has watched his men scored 24 goals in their last six games, book a place in the County Antrim Shield final and turn up the heat on the championship race, said: “Gary Hamilton has been magnificent for us since he came back into the side.

“He wanted to play and he took a substantial pay-cut as well. He has been a positive influence on the younger players and a model professional and we are more than happy with his contribution at this time.

“The pitch was very difficult because of a downpour before kick-off but we still saw Gary and Stephen Carson’s quality and work rate from start to finish.

“Together they have a great understanding and they are desperate to do well, score goals and create goals.

“At the same time, we had two substitutes who came into the game and scored goals and that hands me a great headache ahead of the next game.

“We take nothing for granted but it is very pleasing to be scoring goals and winning games.”

His counterpart Paddy Kelly, willingly put a dollop of praise on Young’s admiration of Hamilton.

The Celtic boss said: “In Gary Hamilton, Glentoran have the best player in the league still.

“He was excellent against us — players don’t know whether to mark him or drop off him.

Either way he seems to get crosses in and set up goals.

“When he and Glentoran are on that type of form there are very few teams in the league who can live with them.

“We beat them at The Oval at the start of the season and that was probably the best time to get them because they didn’t have their full squad together.

“But today they were class all over the park and, when you look at their bench and the players they brought on, you sometimes ask yourself ‘what chance have we?’.

“I said to the boys at half-time to give it a go because they had nothing to lose.”

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